The report includes the performance outturn for the reporting year April 2021 to March 2022 for Children and Young People’s Services. It includes areas of performance that are working well alongside other areas where a continued focus is required.
The Improving Lives Select Commission is asked to:
1. Consider the CYPS Performance Scorecard for March 2022 (Out-turn 2021/2022) as attached – Appendix 1
2. Note that work is ongoing to simplify and improve Performance reporting, ensuring focus remains directed at key strategic (benchmarked) and operational (activity/demand) measures
Consideration was given to a performance report introduced by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and presented by CYPS officers. The report included information in respect of first-time entrants, numbers in social care, placement stability, repeat numbers reducing, number of people on child protection plans, timely interventions, completion of dental assessments, early education placements, Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) timely completion, work ongoing to refine reporting, and key benchmark and operational demand and activity.
The presentation provided context and overview of governance, which included a description of Quarterly Assurance Day, when the service reviews the cases of individual children to examine how the cases have been managed. Practice learning days are also part of the learning process. The service generated 319 performance measures in total. Some are benchmarked, whilst some internal measures are not publishable data so cannot be benchmarked. Current work to strengthen internal score card and inclusion data will soon be included as well. Early Help and Family Engagement highlights were shared also, highlighting compliance against target timescales. Not in Education And Training (NEAT) areas for continued development were also identified, in particular, registration rates at children’s centres of children living in the most deprived areas of the Borough. Published Youth Justice Board Data also showed a reducing trend of first-time entrants. Children’s social care highlights were also shared, including reduction of re-referrals and static cohort receiving support for CSE/CCE, timeliness of assessments, and reduction of LAC numbers overall. Education highlights including SEND inclusion were presented. Next steps were also described, for example, the intention to group benchmarked performance measures where possible for more reader-friendly presentation of data.
In discussion, Members requested to know more about whether registration rates could be skewed by postal codes. Members requested clarification as to whether two-year-olds with an early education placement also had their attendance verified? The response from officers noted that eligibility rules meant that children residing in Rotherham were eligible to register with Rotherham children’s centres. Where a child lives very close to the border and there are extra places, a child may be allowed to enrol at a well-run centre. Attendance data was not centrally kept, but Early Years services liaised with providers and monitored young people with special needs and disabilities. There was regular conversation around the placement of a child.
Members also expressed interest in learning more about the potential for dentists to go into schools or for other links with education to be maximised to aid formation of healthy prevention habits. The response from officers noted that the designated nurses are tenacious about ensuring that looked after children receive their dental checks. A challenge was that these are due on a revolving basis. When they were completed, they would need to be arranged again in six months’ time.
Members noted areas in the data where percentages were given where tallies would be useful along with trajectory and target information. The response from officers noted that the scorecard identifies the direction of travel and target direction. It was noted that performance data was useful to inform scrutiny work programmes. Members noted appreciation for the provision of context with the data which focussed on quality rather than exclusively on quantity and turnover.
Members requested assurances that the service are working with schools to ensure that elective home education is undertaken when appropriate and not as an avenue for dealing with responsibility to particular students. It was understood that conversations were ongoing on this topic. It was observed that for some children, school is not the most important priority due to for example life threatening conditions. The service ensures support is in place for when a parent is feeling vulnerable and wishing to review the educational options for their child.
Clarification was requested and provided in relation to Super Output Areas. These SOAs were for reporting purposes and reassurance point of views. The north, south, east and west localities were not fixed. If some residents had further distances to travel, people should register with their local one. This was down to parental choice. There was a universal core offer, but the offer may take place on different days of the week. Families can be re-registered at the nearest accessible centre. It was requested that, if Members became aware of specific examples where families were struggling, they could please contact the service to work this through. It was acknowledged that awareness of the offer within the community could be greater.
Members noted the effectiveness of the scorecard and dashboard and requested assurances around the dip in referrals during school holidays. The response from officers identified that easter holidays always create a slow period, because schools are referrers. Sometimes work within the community can create surges as well. Officers also looked at the data across the year to see overall trajectory and fluctuations over the long term. Seasonal factors could be identified in future reports with a hypothesis with measures in place to address the identified factors. The Cabinet Member emphasised that nothing stops in social care for school holidays. It was clarified that when the students return to school, there can be a spike in referrals.
Clarification was requested around the schedule for quarterly data validation. The response from officers noted the activity of the Business Intelligence team and provided a summary of the assurance plans and regular monitoring and processing of data. Currently there were eight areas of transformation that each comprised key performance measures. It was noted that any measures generated by a peer review or formal inspection were added. Assistant Directors accounted for all actions performed against these objectives. The Quarter 1 performance report goes to the August assurance day. Within five working days of the assurance day, the quarterly report was issued.
Members requested further assurances in respect of the gap between health assessments and dental assessments. Initial health assessments were done in hospital, and reviews could be in the child’s home. The service were trying to encourage teenagers to visit the leaving care home, where leaving care nurses were there for those young people who were reluctant to engage with the health assessment. The designated specialist is available for the children; however, dental care cannot come to them. Therefore building confidence to help increase their willingness to engage with the dental checks was important. Dental packs for local schools had been funded, with wider implementation possible.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That the Chair and Vice Chair of Health Select Commission and the Director of Public Health and representatives of NHS England be consulted about exploring the potential expansion of Public Health links with early education whereby development of healthy preventative habits related to dental hygiene can be promoted among children who attend Rotherham schools.
3. That a briefing be received in respect of latest trends in elective home education with a view to understanding the implications of COVID-19 on students and on vulnerable young people.
4. That a deep dive be undertaken to consider positive elements of flexible learning delivery that benefit many learners with a view to ensuring that positive progress is retained where possible.
5. Toward increased awareness of Children’s Centres, that the local offer be clarified and publicised both within the community and to Members for the purpose of sharing this information widely within wards.
6. That consideration be given to including a session on Business Intelligence Dashboard performance data in the forward plan for Member Development.